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Love: God's All-Pervasive Attribute

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Love: God’s All-Pervasive Attribute

God is unlike the man who perceives Him. This difference is usually exaggerated by man’s inability to comprehend Him fully, causing estrangement and eventual denial of God’s existence (atheism) and/or His knowability (agnosticism). This article suggests otherwise: God may not be the same with man, but he is similar, indeed very similar, to man. The article investigates the attributes of God vis-Ð" -vis the human properties from which the former had been derived. It suggests that certain theistic explanations may prove to be worthwhile postulates вЂ" in favor of the theists’ cause, of course вЂ" in the theist-non-theist debate(s) if grounded on what can be called “God’s ingredient”: love.


Beyond the theist-non-theist debate is the stalemate. Little development has been made over the years in this important struggle of the philosophers of religion, who are divided into two major legions: the theists and the non-theists (also known as the anti-theists, although this term implies a more active opposition against theism, and may mean to exclude agnostics). The non-theists are further divided, and not superficially: the atheists, who argue for the jettisoning of the concept of God in human reality and affairs, and the agnostics, who are more passive in hunting out God вЂ"indeed, they may be rightly called the third, albeit boring, party in this intellectual struggle. These divisions have had their share in the discussion on the relevance of God in human life. And now, it seems that the fight is at its theoretical end with the stalemate, the end of potent arguments that spice up the raunchy debate вЂ" and the focus has shifted to the real battleground: culture.

Relativism has brokered an uneasy peace between the two active parties, and has handed over prominence to the third (i.e. agnosticism). Everyone to his own opinion, and the theist is as factually correct (subjectively, of course) as the sacrilegious anti-theist.

But of course, this is not going to bring any growth in the understanding of man. Truth-value, as this writer has always insisted, is exclusive in its relation, that is, no two opposing things can be both entirely true in their respective entities. One has to yield to the other, with that other becoming a norm for the first being or idea. Someone has to be wrong.

And no one could be more wrong than those who factually oppose the concept of God. But to prove this assertion, it is necessary to present its background. And the background was seemingly hazarding of petitio principii. But, using the words of this source of theistic argument, is this really the case?

God as Love

In 25 January 2006, Pope Benedict XVI, spiritual head to more or less than a billion Roman Catholics throughout the world, officially released an encyclical letter to his faithful: entitled Deus Caritas Est, it was to prove to be a philosophical document inasmuch as it was a doctrinal augmentation. In it the Pope defined God as love: although it had already been held up as an essential tenet of the Christian faith, the Pope’s purpose was to clarify the term, the reality with which God is being predicated with. According to the Pope, God as love is both eros (possessive love) and agape (oblative love). These two kinds of love are now in danger of being disjoined, with one being emphasized at the expense of the other. In clarifying God’s predication to a human reality, the Pope expresses his hope that it would lead to the rejection of various and usually utilitarian notions of God, which has spawned so many conflicts, not a few of which were waged to the loss of precious lives.

The document promises to be a potent philosophical source, and in particular the encyclical revs up the stagnating debate that has defined the philosophy of religion: the theist-non-theist debate. DCE (I shall henceforth use this acronym to refer to the encyclical for the sake of brevity) perfectly fits the scholarly requirements despite its claim as a piece of official doctrine of the Catholic Church.

So, God is love. But what has this statement to offer? Had not theists used the same premise?

The problem can actually be found in the attributes. What do the attributes have that can justify to their attribution to being whose very essence itself is questionable? The attributes of the divine being are questioned in relation to its owner because they seem to be logically incoherent, or incompatible with the existing state of affairs. These attributes, lying beyond all human reality, are necessarily attached because they imply that if God is outside any measure, then He is simply outrageous in his existence, which no sane mind can admit, or else He is far from what we can grasp, rendering Him irrelevant.

The Attributes


God being all around human reality is a rather harmless idea, but for many theists this presupposes God’s every other attribute. All other natures of God depend on this principle of presence. And while anti-theists may throw stones at God’s other properties, it is clear that what they really have in mind as a target is God’s existence, let alone His omnipresence.

Let us first define a few key terms here. We speak here of existence as essence being actualized in physical reality, and presence is the percept of existence. A being exists by itself, but it cannot be present until another being perceives it. The first being is said to be present to the other being if the perception of the first being as an object is achieved by the second being.

Anti-theists claim that God being present in every point of history seems to either feed the presumption that God exerts His influence in every deed actualized in the realm of space-time. This view obviously compromises man’s free will, which both theists and non-theists treasure as defining man as a creature of this world. From God’s omnipresence can be deduced what anti-theists consider as God’s “interferences:” omnipotence, omniscience, and even omnibenevolence.

But is this really the case? If what DCE says is true, then there is no need to worry about the compromise of the human will’s autonomy, because it is man who loves the other, and God can be said to only subsist in that interpersonal love of man. God is said to be present in man only when man loves the presence of the other. The simple transposition of the



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